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Against Apollo:

Góngora’s Soledad primera and the Mapping of Empire

Ricardo Padrón

And these so manifold regions of the world (says Plinius in the second

this is the substance of our glory, this is its

habitation, here it is that we fill positions of power and covet wealth, and throw mankind into an uproar, and launch even civil wars and slaughter one another to make the land more spacious! And to pass over the collec- tive insanities of the nations, this is the land in which we expel the tenants next to us and add a spade-full of turf to our own estate by stealing from our neighbour’s — to the end that he who has marked out his acres most widely and banished his neighbours beyond all record may rejoice in owning — how small a fraction of the earth’s surface? or, when he has stretched the bound- aries to the full measure of his avarice, may still retain — what portion, pray, of his estate when he is dead? — Pliny

book of his Natural History)

T hese words from the second book of Pliny’s Natural History appear on the reverse of the world map that accompanied each of the

myriad editions of the first modern atlas, the Theatrum orbis terrarum of Abraham Ortelius (1570) (fig. 1). 1 As far as we know, Pliny did not prepare maps to accompany the Natural History. Thus the deixis of this

1 See Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum orbis terrarum (Antwerp, 1570). The portion of the epigraph before the ellipsis is taken from Marcel van den Broecke’s English translation of the text as it appears in Ortelius. See Marcel van den Broecke and Deborah van den Broecke–Günzburger, “Cartographica Neerlandica Map Text for Ortelius Map No. 1,” www.orteliusmaps.com/book/ort_text1.html (accessed January 15, 2007). The balance follows the less awkward translation in Pliny, Natural His- tory, trans. H. Rackham (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London: Heine- mann, 1949), 2.68.

Modern Language Quarterly 68:3 (September 2007)

DOI 10.1215/00267929-2007-002

© 2007 by University of Washington

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364 MLQ September 2007 Figure 1. Ortelius, Typus orbis terrarum , in Theatrum orbis terrarum .

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364 MLQ September 2007 Figure 1. Ortelius, Typus orbis terrarum , in Theatrum orbis terrarum .

Figure 1. Ortelius, Typus orbis terrarum, in Theatrum orbis terrarum. Reproduced by permission of Special Collections, University of Virginia Library

passage (“these so manifold regions of the world”) remits us to a geog- raphy that readers of Pliny’s original text would have come to know exclusively through his verbal descriptions. In this way the Natural His- tory follows the pattern of much of the geographic writing of ancient and medieval times. It privileges the word over the image, the rhetoric over the iconography of descriptio. Although it betrays, at times, famil- iarity with maps and even access to maps, it assumes that these maps are not available to the reader, and it does not think to redress that lack with maps of its own. 2 So when Ortelius appropriates Pliny’s words for his map of the world, he twists their deixis toward something that played no part in Pliny’s writing, toward a geography made available to the reader through cartographic rather than strictly verbal representa- tion. Readers of the Natural History would have had to imagine, on the

2 O. A. W. Dilke, “Itineraries and Geographical Maps in the Early and Late Roman Empires,” in Cartography in Prehistoric, Ancient, and Medieval Europe and the Mediterra- nean, vol. 1 of The History of Cartography, ed. J. B. Harley and David Woodward (Chi- cago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 242 – 43.

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basis of Pliny’s description, the “manifold regions of the world” referred to here. Readers of the Theatrum orbis terrarum find them depicted right before their eyes. The difference is not just a matter of improved clarity or conve- nience. It embodies a broader shift in the relative priority assigned to word and image, a shift that took place during the sixteenth century and that the early modern cartographic revolution facilitated. While the readers of the Natural History construct mental images from words, the readers of the Theatrum orbis terrarum find words corralled on the back of a map, as its explanation, its extended caption. Although these readers continue to idolize ancient writers like Pliny, they occupy a very different world, in which representations of space, particularly those mediated by mathematical abstraction, have achieved a previously unknown prominence. With the newfound hegemony of visual repre- sentations of space comes a new conjunction of vision, knowledge, and power. Yet the skepticism about political striving that is evident in Pliny’s words continues to speak to this new world, whose new cartographies support and are supported by ambitious projects of commercial and political expansion. His references to the fleeting glory of humanity, to its avarice, its rampant enmity, its violence, and its inevitable mortality, organize his passage as a rhetorical relative of an early modern vanitas painting, in which arms and globes appear with other objects to remind us of the futility of this-worldly striving. Written during the plenitude of an earlier empire, Pliny’s words now admonish Europe’s new aspirants to empire about the vanity of their own endeavors. Ortelius pairs Pliny’s admonition with a Ciceronian quotation placed in a cartouche on the face of the map: “Who can consider human affairs great, when he com- prehends the eternity and vastness of the entire world?” 3 In this way the map as a whole, image and word together, announces an emerging modernity even as it voices its discontent. The Theatrum orbis terrarum is certainly not the only text in which we can identify the ambivalence of the early modern new world order of things. The new conjunction of vision, knowledge, and power is a run- ning theme in early modern letters, both cosmographic and literary. A number of recent studies explore the previously uncharted worlds of

3 Cicero, Tusculan disputations, 4.37.

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366 MLQ September 2007 early modern literary cartographies, particularly as they pertain to the mapping of

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early modern literary cartographies, particularly as they pertain to the mapping of empire and the visualization of new worlds. Rabelais and Descartes, Shakespeare and Spenser, Columbus and Donne are only some of the writers whose texts have been scrutinized for cartogra- phies, imperial or otherwise. From my perspective as a Hispanist, one text stands out in its marginality to the discussion, the Soledades of the Spanish baroque poet Luis de Góngora y Argote, specifically the so- called diatribe against navigation in verses 366 – 502 of the 1,091-verse Soledad primera. It is not that the passage has never been studied — far from it — but that its cartographic dimensions have never been ana- lyzed through the “critical cartography” that has emerged from the work of J. B. Harley and others. 4 For scholars working in this vein, maps and mapping are no longer considered transparent representa- tions of territories but are regarded as complex figurative projects shot through with ideology and embedded in particular cultures. I propose to enmesh the diatribe against navigation in a larger intertextual web of crucial literary precursors and successors, as well as key Renaissance maps, and to consider the whole within an interpretative framework provided by critical cartography. I thereby hope to unlock how this passage, long considered an island of sense in a sea of poetic complex- ity, engages questions of vision, knowledge, and power with the same ambivalence about the new age of the world picture that I have sketched in Ortelius.

The Diatribe against Navigation: A Map in Verse?

The Soledades tells the story of a young aristocrat who is shipwrecked along an unnamed piece of shoreline and who journeys inland to find the company of goatherds, village folk, and fishermen. The poetic mode is predominantly bucolic and the narrative skeletal. Rarely does the young pilgrim speak, and even more rarely does he act in any but the most passive sense of the term. Indeed, he does little more than provide a mute gaze through which the poem converts his pastoral surroundings into the intricate tableaux of the learned verse for which

4 For an introduction to the subject see Jeremy W. Crampton and John Krygier, “An Introduction to Critical Cartography,” ACME 4, no. 1 (2005), www.acme-journal .org/Volume4-1.htm (accessed January 15, 2007).

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Padrón Góngora’s Soledad primera and Empire 367 Góngora became so well known. 5 The poem has

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Góngora became so well known. 5 The poem has proved as enigmatic as

it is beautiful, spawning interpretations across a wide range of critical

possibilities. Some of this interest has fastened on the diatribe against navigation. 6 Góngora puts the diatribe in the mouth of an old moun- taineer whom the young pilgrim encounters. From the salt stains on the pilgrim’s clothes, the mountaineer knows that he has been ship- wrecked, and this fact recalls the mountaineer’s son, who has died in

a shipwreck in the faraway Indies. The recollection elicits from the

mountaineer an extended denunciation of the art of navigation, par-

ticularly as it relates to the voyages of discovery. The passage stands out from the rest of the poem dramatically.

With it, history and epic intrude suggestively into Góngora’s bucolic ref- uge. The diatribe appears, moreover, “as an island of sense in a sea of obscurity,” in the words of Mary Gaylord Randel. “Perhaps more than

on tell-

ing a story and communicating a clear message” (100). That message came through loud and clear to some of Góngora’s contemporaries, who identified the passage as an unpatriotic assault on Spain’s providen- tial mission to bring Christianity to the New World through conquest. 7 Iberian epic poems, at least on their face, celebrate this mission, but the mountaineer’s epic poem in miniature turns their ideology upside down: Greed personified captains every ship, bringing distant lands together only to violate them. As Randel points out, the text exploits the phallic implications of one of its poetic motifs, ships referred to by way of their erect masts, and so makes Greed double as Concupiscence,

any other verses in the poem,” Randel adds, these seem “bent

5 I use the word tableaux to allude to the intensely visual nature of much of the Soledades. For an extended discussion of this topic, with specific reference to the poem’s theatricality, see Marsha Suzan Collins, The “Soledades,” Góngora’s Masque of the Imagination (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2002).

6 See Elizabeth M. Amann, “Orientalism and Transvestism: Góngora’s ‘Discurso contra las navegaciones’ (Soledad primera),” Calíope 3, no. 1 (1997): 18 – 34; Dana C. Bultman, “Shipwreck as Heresy: Placing Góngora’s Poetry in the Wake of Renaissance Epic, Fray Luis, and the Christian Kabbala,” Hispanic Review 70 (2002): 439 – 58; and Mary Gaylord Randel, “Metaphor and Fable in Góngora’s ‘Soledad Primera,’ ” Revista hispánica moderna 40 (1978 – 79): 97 – 112.

7 See the remarks of García de Salcedo Coronel (1629) and Joseph Pellicer (1630) quoted in Luis de Góngora y Argote, Soledades, ed. Robert Jammes (Madrid:

Castalia, 1994), 278 – 80, 596 – 97.

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searching for territories figured as virgins ready to be despoiled. The Age of Discovery becomes the age of rape and plunder. 8 The diatribe’s condemnation of epic striving reiterates the poem’s manifest attitude of celebrating country life and denouncing the vani- ties of the court. Empire building, it would seem, is nothing but courtly ambition writ large, all the more vain because it is all the more ambi- tious. John Beverley, however, reminds us that the thematic contrast between the mountaineer’s epic in miniature and the bucolic subject matter of the rest of the Soledades is no isolated matter: it encapsulates the tension that runs through the poem. The Soledades is not just a bucolic text that contains a fragmentary epic poem; it is a bucolic poem set in an epic register. Seventeenth-century readers immediately detected, and often vociferously criticized, what they considered the appalling contradiction between Góngora’s subject matter and his high poetic style. For Beverley, the tension between the two signals a cultural crisis. In his analysis, Góngora’s text becomes a symptom of Spanish decadence. It is the product of a time and place suspended between an imperial heyday and a dawning sense of disillusionment and even melancholy. The Soledades therefore attests to the bankruptcy of epic while grasping nostalgically at its fading possibilities. The poem rejects the old epic of imperial expansion but attempts to fashion a new epic grandeur from the humble stuff of pastoral. 9 The diatribe itself reproduces such tension, and a similar ambiv- alence, with regard to other issues. It is not just a condemnation of empire tinged with nostalgia for Spain’s glory days but also a map of the world, of sorts, and a sophisticated reflection on maps and map- making as they were codified by the Renaissance. Its cartographic qual- ity is a function of its discursive form. The diatribe maps the world the way that language often figures places and spaces, by tracing an itinerary through them. Greed does indeed captain every ship, but he does so in the form of historical explorers, along their actual routes.

8 “The upright tree serves as a double synecdoche, alluding not only to the ship with its mast, but to the man whose erect form suggests most powerfully the eagerness of his desire. The story of conquest is nothing less than the story of violation or rape; Codicia plays the role of Concupiscencia” (Randel, 104). 9 John Beverley, Aspects of Góngora’s “Soledades” (Amsterdam: Benjamins, 1980), 59 – 69.

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Thus the diatribe makes discrete, identifiable allusions to the voyages of Columbus, da Gama, Magellan and mentions, albeit obscurely, real places along their routes:

Abetos suyos tres aquel tridente violaron a Neptuno, conculcando hasta allí de otro ninguno, besando las que al Sol el Occidente le corre, en lecho azul de aguas marinas, turquesadas cortinas.

[And now three floating pines the trident wrest From Neptune’s very hand, Reaching a hitherto untrodden land, To kiss the turquoise hangings which the West Draws round the azure couch on which the sun Rests when the day is done.] (413 – 18) 10

Góngora’s “three floating pines,” of course, are the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María, and his “hitherto untrodden land” is the New World. Through such allusions the “manifold regions” of Pliny’s history and Ortelius’s map, including the islands of the Caribbean, the isthmus of Panama, the mines of Peru, the Strait of Magellan, the Cape of Good Hope, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the east coast of Africa, the Spice Islands, the Red Sea, Egypt, and Greece, appear on Góngora’s pages. These references have led other critics to recognize the carto- graphic quality of his writing. Robert Jammes has called the diatribe against navigation the poetic equivalent of one of the ornate world maps for which Renaissance cartography is so well known, while Enrica Cancelliere includes Góngora’s cartography among the many forms of iconicity engaged by the Soledades, although her remarks about this par- ticular passage are brief. 11

10 All Spanish quotations are from Jammes’s edition of the Soledades. The English translations are taken from The Solitudes of Luis de Góngora, trans. Gilbert Farm Cun- ningham (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1968), except where otherwise noted.

11 Robert Jammes, Etudes sur l’oeuvre poétique de Don Luis de Góngora y Argote (Bor- deaux: Institut d’Etudes Ibériques et Ibéro-Américaines de l’Université de Bordeaux, 1967), 602; Jammes, “Historia y creación poética: Góngora y el descubrimiento de América,” in Hommage à Claude Dumas: Histoire et création, ed. Jacqueline Covo (Lille:

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More can be said about the ways that this episode engages early modern maps and mapping, especially near the end of the diatribe, when Greed crosses the Pacific and arrives at the islands of Southeast Asia, including the Moluccas. “De firmes islas no la inmóvil flota / en aquel mar del Alba te describo” (Of anchored isles, a stationary fleet / In southern oceans, little need I say), we read (481 – 82). 12 In rhetoric, of course, descriptio refers to the verbal depiction of visible things. At one time, descriptions tended to be preceded by a promise not to describe or by a claim, much like the one we see here, that a description could not or need not be rendered. But by Góngora’s time, words like descri- bir and descripción designated much more than a rhetorical practice. Renaissance geography had appropriated such terms to refer to its own figuring of places and spaces, both verbal and cartographic, and early modern Spanish assimilated this semantic innovation. In his early- seventeenth-century dictionary of Castilian, Sebastián de Covarrubias defines describir as “narrar y señalar con la pluma algún lugar o caso acontecido, tan al vivo como si lo dibujara” (narrate and signal with a plume some place or past event, as vividly as if one had drawn it) and a descripción as “la tal narración o escrita o delineada, como la descripción de una provincia o mapa” (such a narration, either written or delineated, as the description of a province or map). 13 Góngora’s assurance that he need say little about the islands of the eastern seas, therefore, should yield to a description of those very islands that con- temporaries could have interpreted as a verbal map, more or less inter- changeable with an iconographic one. The verses that follow, however, represent nothing of the sort:

De firmes islas no la inmóvil flota en aquel mar del Alba te describo cuyo número, ya que no lascivo,

Presses Universitaires de Lille, 1990), 61; Enrica Cancelliere, “Stereotipie iconiche nelle ‘Soledades’ di Góngora,” in Da Góngora a Góngora: Verona, 26 – 28 ottobre 1995, ed. Giulia Poggi (Pisa: Edicioni ETS, 1997), 236 – 41. 12 Edward Meryon Wilson’s translation of the Soledades preserves the crucial verb but renders these and other verses rather awkwardly (Solitudes, trans. Edward Meryon Wilson, rev. ed. [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965]). 13 Sebastián de Covarrubias Orozco, Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española, ed. Felipe C. R. Maldonado, rev. Manuel Camarero (Madrid: Castalia, 1994), 412; my translation.

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por lo bello, agradable y por lo vario

la dulce confusión hacer podía

que en los blancos estanques del Eurota

la virginal desnuda montería,

haciendo escollos o de mármol pario

o de terso marfil sus miembros bellos,

que pudo bien Acteón perderse en ellos.

[Of anchored isles, a stationary fleet In southern oceans, little need I say, Whose numbers — though they wake not lust — display Such charm, such beauty, such variety Stirring to soft bewilderment, as when The limpid waters of Eurotas greet The naked virgins of Diana’s train, Their lovely limbs like burnished ivory Or cliffs of Parian marble — for whose sight Actaeon well might hazard life and light.] (481– 90)

If this is “description,” if this is “mapping,” then it is clearly not of a conventional kind. Descriptions, like maps, are often associated with the representational transparency that lies at the heart of the sciences of measurement. When we “map things out” in today’s English, as it was done in early modern Spanish, we lay them out as clearly as possible. We reduce and control complexity for the sake of comprehensibility. But here the places in question are not even named, much less described, made present to the mind’s eye. Instead, they are at once figured and displaced by an allusion to Actaeon’s fateful discovery of Diana and her nymphs bathing in the Eurota. The fragmented geography of the Southeast Asian archipelago becomes the scattered white body parts (“miembros” [limbs]) of the women in these waters. By implication, Greed becomes the hunter Actaeon, stumbling upon the virgin goddess and her companions, only to lose first his heart and then his life. Thus Greed’s rapine voyage takes a decisive turn. Disaster looms as Greed finally encounters a virgin who is also a femme fatale. What emerges from this “description”? Not a visual image of the Spice Islands, certainly, but a claim about their moral significance as the source of that seductive but dangerous commodity that will destroy those who make it the object of their quest. So, too, does one purpose

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of the diatribe against navigation come to light. It not only maps the world with words but engages its era’s understanding of maps and mapping.

Epic Mappaemundi and Renaissance Maps

One way to show how the diatribe does so is to compare it to the so- called mappamundi episode, a geographic or even cosmographical inter- lude that appears in much Iberian heroic verse narrative from the Mid- dle Ages and the Renaissance. 14 Such episodes usually take the form of a supernatural vision of the whole earth made available to a privileged observer in a dream, through a magical device, or on a winged mount. This observer sees the world as we do on a map. As readers, we have it mapped for us by a discursive itinerary built from a list of place-names and occasional descriptive or historical observations. In the Araucana of Alonso de Ercilla (1578), for example, a Chilean sorcerer, Fitón, con- jures a vision of the world in his crystal ball, designating locations as they appear with place-names predicated to verbs of vision, ver and mirar, and uttered in the imperative mode. In the following excerpt, the Araucana’s cartography spans Chile from north to south and then crosses the Pacific to the Spice Islands:

Vees la ciudad de Penco y el pujante Arauco, estado libre y poderoso; Cañete, la Imperial, y hacia el levante la Villa Rica y el volcán fogoso; Valdivia, Osorno, el lago y adelante las islas y archipiélago famoso y siguiendo la costa al sur derecho Chiloé, Coronados el estrecho

14 By beginning my account in this way, I hope to contribute to a trend on the part of scholars of early modern Spain to pay close attention to texts and issues once considered the exclusive province of colonial Latin American studies. See, e.g., Eliz- abeth B. Davis, Myth and Identity in the Epic of Imperial Spain (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2000); Barbara Fuchs, Mimesis and Empire: The New World, Islam, and European Identities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); and Barbara Simerka, Discourses of Empire: Counter-epic Literature in Early Modern Spain (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003). For the development of the mappa- mundi episode, with special emphasis on Camões and Ercilla, see James Nicolopulos, The Poetics of Empire in the Indies: Prophecy and Imitation in “La Araucana” and “Os Lusía- das” (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000), 221 – 69.

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por donde Magallanes con su gente

al Mar del Sur salió desembocando,

y tomando la vuelta del poniente al Maluco guió norduesteando.

Vees las islas de Acaca y Zabú enfrente,

y a Matán, do murió al fin peleando;

Bruney, Bohol, Gilolo, Terrenate, Machicán, Mutir, Badán, Tidore y Mate.

[See the city of Penco and thriving Arauco, a free and powerful state; Cañete, the Imperial City, and toward the east Villa Rica and the fiery volcano; Valdivia, Osorno, the lake, and farther on the islands and the famous archipelago and, following the coast straight south, Chiloé, Coronados, and the strait

through which Magellan with his people flowed out into the South Sea and, taking a westward turn toward the Moluccas, sailed northwestward. See the islands of Acaca and Cebu ahead, and Macan, where he died in the end fighting; Brunei, Bohol, Gillolo, Terenate, Machicán, Mutir, Badán, Tidore and Mate.] 15

Names, a discursive itinerary, and a privileged observer: these are the building blocks of verse cartography in Iberian epic. For Jammes, passages like these from Ercilla represent only dry and prosaic “rhymed history,” not true poetry. Not until Góngora’s dia- tribe against navigation, Jammes argues, do we find a truly poetic car- tography in verse (“Historia y creación,” 59). Ercilla himself might have disagreed. Successive editions of the Araucana attest to the intensity with which he revised this episode, apparently eager to get the musi- cality of these octaves just right (Nicolopulos, 91). Nonetheless, there is no denying that Ercilla’s cartography and others like it fall flat as poetry, at least for the modern reader. One reason is the way that the sorceror’s commands to look and see implicate the reader, arousing a desire to participate in the vision enjoyed by the observer. But while the

15 Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, La Araucana, ed. Isaías Lerner (Madrid: Cátedra, 1993), 27.50 – 51.

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observer may see the world in Fitón’s crystal ball, the reader sees only words on a page. Can the musicality of the verses compensate for the poverty of the episode’s ekphrastic power? Perhaps, but while rhythm and meter can stir one’s emotions, they cannot convert place-names into pictures for the imagination. The reader is left with the difficulty noted by Polybius in his Histories, that place-names are meaningless to people who know nothing about the places they name, that their meanings are limited to those that the reader brings to them or that the historian invests them with:

I am of the opinion that as regards known countries the mention of names is of no small assistance in recalling them to our memory, but in the case of unknown lands such citation of names is just of as much value as if they were unintelligible and inarticulate sounds. For the mind here has nothing to lean upon for support and cannot connect the words with anything known to it, so that the narrative is associ- ated with nothing in the reader’s mind, and therefore meaningless to him. We must therefore make it possible when speaking of unknown places to convey to the reader a more or less real and familiar notion of them. 16

For the reader who knows little or nothing about the places named in Ercilla’s mappamundi, the episode collapses into “dry nomenclature,” whose interest was exhausted when the New World ceased to be new. 17 Why, then, would it occur to Ercilla and others to compose their verse cartographies in this way? One could answer that the toponymic obsession so evident in their mappamundi episodes was by no means unique to these poets. Ptolemy’s Geography bequeathed to the Renais- sance a cartography centered on the toponym and on the accurate location of named places in the abstract space of a coordinate grid. This cartography suited a culture only then becoming curious about terrae incognitae and the possibilities they offered for commercial, politi- cal, and cultural expansion. 18 To name and locate a place was to make

16 Polybius, The Histories, trans. W. R. Paton, 6 vols. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1975 – 79), 3:36.

17 Alphonse Royer, Etude littéraire sur l’“Araucana” d’Ercilla (Dijon: Arantière, 1879), 190.

18 “Nomenclature,” Christian Jacob argues, became over time “one of the essen- tial components” of cartography. The toponym, “the principal information conveyed by the map,” supported the activities of travel and administration that governed the

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it part of the known world and thus render it available for trade, mis- sionary work, conquest, governance. It was also to experience, on some level, the thrill of exotic novelty, the excitement of an ever-expanding geographic copia. Thus it should come as no surprise that Peter Apian’s instructions for using the new maps, in his popular Cosmographia (1524), are limited to procedures for locating places on maps by means of grid coordinates. In one illustration, the city of Prague is pinpointed in an almost empty cartographic space with intersecting threads held by four disembodied hands. Only a few hills in profile, set off in a corner, share the space with that and other named locations (fig. 2). 19 Nor should it come as a surprise that in subsequent editions of his influential map of Europe, Gerardus Mercator’s success was measured by the number of place-names he added without sacrificing elegance or legibility. 20 The history of verse mappaemundi shows a similar logic of accumulation. With each successive map, the list of place-names grows longer, and presumably so does the sense of wonder and power. The analogy between epic mappaemundi and Renaissance mapmak- ing is borne out in another central feature of these episodes: their com- manding point of view. Denis Cosgrove, who calls this godlike point of view “Apollo’s eye,” characterizes it as a “synoptic and omniscient, intel- lectually detached” gaze that looks down on the earth. Verses prefatory to the Theatrum orbis terrarum, for example, place Ortelius himself in Apollo’s chariot and compare him to Phoebus, who sees all things. 21 Indeed, the Apollonian perspective has been put to various purposes on maps and in geographic writing throughout history. In some cases, as in Ortelius’s Typus orbis terrarum, the view of the earth from on high triggers a Stoic recognition of the insignificance of human affairs. In others, this view is part of the hermetic, totalizing vision associated with the Platonic or Neoplatonic ascensus. In still others, the view of

production of so many Renaissance maps (L’empire des cartes: Approche théorique de la car- tographie à travers l’histoire [Paris: Michel, 1992], 277 – 78; my translation).

19 Peter Apian and Frisius Gemma, Cosmographia Petri Apiani (Antwerp, 1545), 27.

20 Nicholas Crane, Mercator: The Man Who Mapped the Planet (New York: Holt, 2003), 123.

21 Denis Cosgrove, Apollo’s Eye: A Cartographic Genealogy of the Earth in the Western Imagination (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), 2 – 3.

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376 MLQ September 2007 Figure 2. Illustration from Cosmographia Petri Apiani . Reproduced by permission of

Figure 2. Illustration from Cosmographia Petri Apiani. Reproduced by permission of Special Collections, University of Virginia Library

the world from on high magnifies certain human accomplishments, particularly imperial ones; the complex of geographic object and privi- leged observer celebrates an emerging conjunction of vision, knowl- edge, and power. For instance, in the anonymous thirteenth-century Libro de Alexandre, an important precursor of early modern verse car- tography, Alexander the Great enjoys the seductions and satisfactions of the map’s panoptic illusion:

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Padrón Góngora’s Soledad primera and Empire 377 Alexandre en ella lo podié perçebir quanto avié conquiso,

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Alexandre en ella lo podié perçebir quanto avié conquiso, quant podié conquerir; non se le podié tierra alçar nin encobrir que él non la supiesse buscar e combatir.

[Alexander could perceive on it all he had conquered, all he could conquer; no land could rebel against him or hide from him so that he would not know how to find and combat it.] 22

With the sixteenth century came the intensification of such panoptic fantasies. The rediscovery of Ptolemy, the Age of Discovery, and the advent of the printing press changed the nature of European map- ping, not least by making maps more prevalent. Ptolemy’s Geography, Jean-Marc Besse reminds us, explicitly associated cartography with the privileged onlooker. 23 Medieval mappaemundi, what few there were, had only implied the presence of such an onlooker; in many ways they tended, like other types of medieval maps, to bring the onlooker down to earth and have him or her adopt the grounded perspective of an itinerary. 24 Citing a French edition of Ptolemy, Besse calls attention to an image that demonstrates how clearly the new, elevated point of view was understood in the Renaissance: an all-seeing, otherworldy eye look- ing down on the cosmos. Much of the work of making the new maps was sponsored by the state, poised to advance its own interests. What a fictional Alexander had once done in the pages of a medieval romance was now a real possibility for ambitious rulers. They could acquire access to maps that beckoned to all sorts of commercial, administra- tive, and military endeavors or that advertised the majesty of those who would undertake them. Gridded maps were particularly useful. Depict- ing worlds unknown to the ancients and drawn in an idiom unknown to the Middle Ages, they boasted of modern sophistication. When drawn

22 Jesús Cañas Murillo, ed., Libro de Alexandre (Madrid: Catedra, 1988), st. 2587; my translation.

23 Jean-Marc Besse, Les grandeurs de la terre: Aspects du savoir géographique à la Renaissance (Lyon: ENS, 2003), 125 – 26.

24 Ricardo Padrón, The Spacious Word: Cartography, Literature, and Empire in Early Modern Spain (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), 45 – 91.

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378 MLQ September 2007 Figure 3. Map of the world from Cosmographia Petri Apiani by or

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378 MLQ September 2007 Figure 3. Map of the world from Cosmographia Petri Apiani by or

Figure 3. Map of the world from Cosmographia Petri Apiani

by or for the Spanish Hapsburgs, they could easily serve the ideology of world empire. On the map that accompanied Apian’s Cosmographia, for example, Charles V takes his place astride the world alongside Jupiter rather than Apollo (fig. 3). The world is literally at the emperor’s feet. Iberian verse cartography developed in tandem with this vein of neo-Ptolemaic cartography. There is no doubting the imperial politics of the mappamundi episode in the tenth canto of Camões’s Lusíadas, and however possible it may be to interpret the equivalent episode of the Araucana as a parody of verse mappaemundi, it seems on its face to offer a similar celebration of imperial might. The poem is dedicated and addressed to Philip II. It is he, its ideal reader, who is implicated in the sorceror’s commands to look and see. It is he who is invited to enjoy the panoptic fantasies of Ercilla’s map.

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Padrón Góngora’s Soledad primera and Empire 379 Cartographies and Countercartographies in the Diatribe Some of

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Cartographies and Countercartographies in the Diatribe

Some of Góngora’s critics, comparing the Soledades with early Flemish landscape paintings, find in it the intricate variety of a painting by the elder Brueghel and thus a similar visual clarity and beauty. 25 Others, however, question its lucidity, comparing its aesthetics with the chiar- oscuro of Italian baroque painting. 26 Working in this vein, Humberto Huergo Cardoso and Enrica Cancelliere fasten on the verses that intro- duce a landscape description at the moment when the pilgrim is taken to a rocky crag by another old mountaineer and is invited to look out across the countryside (182 – 211). The pilgrim climbs to the top, only to find the perspective confounded by the mist, the glare of the sun, and the distance:

Si mucho poco mapa les despliega, mucho es más lo que (nieblas desatando) confunde el Sol y la distancia niega.

[Much as the little map he sees displays, Still more, in cloud or sunshine ill-defined, Is hid in distance or concealed by haze.] (194– 96)

Huergo notes how this passage “scratches out” the “two emblems par excellence of vision — the map and the sun.” What this map does not show is greater than what it reveals. What the sun illuminates is greater than what the dissolving mists conceal. Despite his perspec- tive, the pilgrim “does not dominate the landscape, but is dominated by it” (228). 27 According to Huergo, the chiaroscuro aesthetics of this passage is characteristic of the Soledades as a whole. Here we see how the pilgrim assumes what should be the Apollonian height of the car-

25 Jammes resuscitates this comparison, originally proposed in the seventeenth century by Francisco Fernández de Córdoba (see introduction to Góngora, Soledades, 126 – 29).

26 For the comparison with painting see Humberto Huergo Cardoso, “Las Sole- dades de Góngora: ¿‘Lienço de Flandes’ o ‘pintura valiente’?” La Torre 6, nos. 20 – 21 (2001): 193 – 231.

27 Cancelliere, who construes the passage similarly, interprets its elaboration of the rhetoric of pictorialism in ways that point toward metarepresentational issues (239 – 41).

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tographic observer but instead finds himself in competition with the sun for visual mastery of the landscape. The glare of the sun in the dissolving mists, however, denies the pilgrim the optical clarity typical of cartography’s claims for itself. 28 Furthermore, it is the highlander who must draw his attention to the ruins of fortifications that dot the landscape spread out beneath him. Half obscured by vegetation, these ruins hint of epics all but forgotten (212 – 21). What is visible, then, can be only half seen, and that, in turn, can be only dimly understood. The pilgrim may be a spectator, but he does not watch with Apollo’s eye. In this way the passage marks Góngora’s purpose, not to reproduce the visible clarity of Brueghel (or of his friend Ortelius) but to bring into question the conjunction of cartographic vision, geographic knowl- edge, and imperial power. The diatribe against navigation also subverts claims to clear opti- cal mastery. For one thing, the pilgrim does not enjoy the privileges accorded his predecessors in epic poems. No marvelous beast bears him aloft. No magical device allows him to see what he could not other- wise see. He encounters Góngora’s poetic cartography strictly as lan- guage. Readers are not invited to imagine what he would see if he were indeed riding a hippogriff, and thus they, like him, must deal directly with Góngora’s words. There, moreover, several solar images continue the work begun by the image at the outset of the landscape descrip- tion. Just as the pilgrim on the promontory has sought to rival the sun’s Apollonian command of the countryside, so Greed seeks to attain that same optical mastery. The sun rises from and sets in the ocean every day, but it does not want to know “los términos” (the boundaries) of Ocean’s “monarquía” (realm) (405, 409). The Apollonian point of view becomes something to which even Apollo does not aspire. Greed nonetheless captains a ship, Magellan’s Victoria, which man- ages to emulate Apollo’s chariot:

Zodíaco después fue cristalino a glorïoso pino, émulo vago del ardiente coche del Sol

28 See also Huergo’s (228) and Cancelliere’s (239) accounts of this passage.

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Padrón Góngora’s Soledad primera and Empire [Next, water made the crystal zodiac Where, in its wandering

Góngora’s Soledad primera and Empire

[Next, water made the crystal zodiac Where, in its wandering track, A glorious pine rivaled the burning flight Of Phoebus’ axle-tree] (466 – 69)

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When the Victoria becomes the new solar chariot, tracing its way along the crystalline zodiac of its maritime route, Greed has in some mea- sure achieved the very perspective that has eluded the pilgrim and that the sun itself has shunned. But that measure is not Góngora’s. The

route of the Victoria emulates that of Apollo’s chariot only insofar as it encompasses the earth. It remains seabound, “crystalline” rather than “celestial.” In Góngora’s “émulo vago” (wandering rival) it is easy to identify both the adjective’s connotation, “wandering,” and a telling denotation, the “vain” of “en vago” or “in vain.” The definition offered by the eighteenth-century Diccionario de la lengua castellana is particu-

vale sin firmeza, ni consistencia, o con means without strength or consistency,

or with risk of falling). 29 The panoptic fantasies of cartographic vision appear as vain desires in the service of base ambition. But neither the refusal to adopt a privileged point of view through fictional, supernatural device nor the jibes at Apollonian pretension through bits of solar imagery represent Góngora’s principal strategy for emulating and subverting the optical mastery encoded by both Renais- sance maps and epic poems. No, Góngora’s principal strategy revolves around his treatment of place-names, the building blocks of Renais- sance maps and verse mappaemundi, and the ways that that treatment raises questions about seeing and not-seeing. The contrast between Góngora’s diatribe and his epic precursors could not be more strik- ing. While mappaemundi like Ercilla’s are built out of lists of toponyms, Góngora’s diatribe does not provide a single place-name outside the

larly noteworthy: “En vago riesgo de caerse” (In vain

Greco-Latin world (Jammes, “Historia y creación,” 56 – 57). Rather than submit names to the exigencies of rhyme and meter, Góngora refers to places — for instance, the isthmus of Panama — by means of erudite allusions and elaborate circumlocutions:

29 Real Academia Española, Diccionario de la lengua castellana 1739), 410.

, vol. 6 (Madrid,

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el istmo que al Océano divide, y, sierpe de cristal, juntar le impide la cabeza, del Norte coronada, con la que ilustra el Sur cola escamada de antárticas estrellas.

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[That isthmus, whose dividing barriers break Into two seas the Ocean’s crystal snake, So that its head, crowned with the northern light, Joins not the tail, which the Antarctic night Studs with its starry scales.] (425 – 29)

“Panama” and “Darién” appear only by way of the common noun isth- mus rather than by way of their proper names. Meanwhile, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, known to Spaniards as the Mar del Norte, or North Sea, and the Mar del Sur, or South Sea, appear only by way of a com- plex metaphor. In at least one instance, however, a toponym from the wider world almost appears in the text. This instance allows us to glimpse what Góngora does with the place-names so fundamental to Ercilla and oth- ers. When the diatribe reaches da Gama’s voyage around the Cape of Good Hope, we read:

El promontorio que Eolo sus rocas

candados hizo de otras nuevas grutas

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doblaste alegre, y tu obstinada entena cabo lo hizo de esperanza buena.

[That cape within whose rocky caverns lie New prisons for Aeolus’ servants,

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. . Your stubborn prow doubled with ready skill, And by the words Good Hope men name it still.] (447 – 52; my emphasis) 30

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The English translation imposes a toponym where, according to Jammes, there is none. Instead, a periphrasis draws our attention not

30 A more literal translation is “your obstinate mast / made it a cape of good hope.”

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Padrón Góngora’s Soledad primera and Empire 383 to any geographic location but to the historical act

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to any geographic location but to the historical act of its discovery and naming (introduction, 290). Jammes is right, but there is more to be discovered here, by way of contrast with Ercilla. Although Ercilla’s map-

pamundi is built primarily out of a list of place-names, it also rests on the sort of circumlocution that we see in Góngora. The Araucana maps the Strait of Magellan as the “estrecho,” the strait, “through which Magel- lan with his people flowed out into the South Sea.” Like Góngora’s passage on the Cape of Good Hope, Ercilla’s avoids the proper name but includes the crucial common noun. Like Góngora, Ercilla gives meaning and particularity to this noun by referring to the historical voyage that gave it its name. But in Ercilla the pressure of the list of names compels us to identify the circumlocution as a part of the series, an alternative toponym. We have no doubt that the Strait of Magellan has been named, just as the places in the series before and after it are also named. In Góngora, by contrast, the absence of the list keeps us from reducing his circumlocution to the toponym it replaces. It is not, then, that we have an event rather than a place, or an event that names

a place. Instead, we have an event haunted by the place-name that it

creates. The place-name “Cape of Good Hope” is there, tempting us to catch a glimpse of it but never becoming fully present. The same could be said of other place-names, like “the isthmus of Panama” or “the Spice Islands,” that appear only by way of elaborately allusive cir- cumlocutions. They too have been reduced to phantasms, albeit even more ethereal than “the Cape of Good Hope,” barely visible but not entirely exorcised. To put it another way, Góngora’s text, unlike Ercilla’s toponyms,

insists on a presence of its own: it refuses reduction to the indexical function, and therefore the transparency, of the toponym. And the insistence of the text on its own presence consigns its referents to a

semiotic limbo, neither there nor not-there, neither present nor absent. Like the love objects of Petrarchan poets, Góngora’s world appears as

a series of parts, the places along Greed’s itineraries. Like the bodies

of those women, the world becomes visible when we reach the end of the series and sum them up in a complete image. But is that world, like those bodies, ever captured by summing up the parts? And how are the inherent tensions intensified by the way that Góngora’s text dissolves the descriptions of the parts into the at best translucent and at worst

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opaque waters of his complex circumlocutions and recondite allusions? If description, as Nancy Vickers argues, following Roland Barthes, “is ultimately no more than a collection of imperfect signs that, like fetishes, affirm absence by their presence,” how much richer must the play of presence and absence become when we encounter not the cli- chés of Petrarchism but the innovations of Gongorism, at once more intense in their grasping at the objects of representation and emptier of representational content? 31 This hyperbolically rich play of opposing tendencies is precisely what certain contemporary Góngora critics dis- cover in the Soledades. Betty Sasaki, for example, writes of the constant need to constitute a history that never gels into a “linguistic picture.” 32 Crystal Chemris writes that “the proliferation of images” in certain cos- mological moments of the Soledad segunda “exists in a dialectic with the engulfing void” and that “each creative moment is countered by its inevitable dissolution.” 33 Huergo finds even Góngora’s most apparently ekphrastic moments pregnant with absence. “The pleasure of seeing,” he concludes, is in Góngora “inseparable from the pain of not seeing” (231). Working in this vein, I argue that Góngora’s mapping does not make places present in the manner of a true description, but neither does it erase them altogether. Places are invoked rather than evoked, by a poetry whose invocations are often more evident than what they try to conjure. In this way the diatribe against navigation stands in marked con- trast to maps and mapmaking as the Renaissance understood them. Just as early modern cartography celebrated the Apollonian perspec- tive offered by its world maps, so it made certain assumptions about the transparency of cartographic representation. These assump- tions are manifest in Renaissance statements about the relationship between geography and history. A primary purpose of maps and geo- graphic descriptions was to help us understand where historical events unfolded. Thus they enhanced our understanding of historical writing

31 Nancy Vickers, “Diana Described: Scattered Women, Scattered Rhyme,” in Writing and Sexual Difference, ed. Elizabeth Abel (Brighton: Harvester, 1982), 105.

32 Betty Sasaki, “Góngora’s Sea of Signs: The Manipulation of History in the Soledades,” Calíope 1, nos. 1 – 2 (1995): 155.

33 Crystal Chemris, “Time, Space, and Apocalypse in Góngora’s Soledades,” Sym- posium 43, no. 3 (1989): 152.

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Padrón Góngora’s Soledad primera and Empire 385 and aided us in remembering those events (Besse, 295

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and aided us in remembering those events (Besse, 295 – 96). Ortelius himself called maps “the eye of histories” and insisted on their use- fulness in helping us imagine historical events as if we had witnessed them. 34 And so, if we were to speak of da Gama within the parameters of these assumptions, parameters that often inform approaches to his- tory and cartography in our own day, we might say that he “rounded the Cape of Good Hope.” 35 In so doing, we would assume that the Cape of Good Hope was already there when da Gama arrived, and the toponym, in our account, would merely mark the place he reached. That place is there, on the map, waiting for us to trace his journey. The place-name and the geography that goes with it, in other words, are taken as onto- logical givens, as a preset stage on which to trace the story of explora- tion. The map simply represents that stage; it plays no role that could be understood as inventive or constructive. Thus the assumptions of Renaissance geography support the sort of imperial cartography that Paul Carter identifies at the heart of met- ropolitan histories that legitimate colonial expansion. This kind of his- tory pays attention not to the historicity of space, Carter claims, but “to events unfolding in time alone.” 36 Places are already there, for imperial history; one has only to find them and occupy them, not produce them. Góngora, by contrast, confounds this relationship between history and geography, inviting reflection on the made rather than on the given quality of place and space. As we have seen, the Cape of Good Hope first appears in the poem as a common noun, “el promontorio” (the cape), and it is da Gama’s voyage — or rather, his phallic striving — that makes it into the Cape of Good Hope. These verses figure not an event instead of a place but, rather, the making of a place. They thereby expose the made rather than the given quality of all the places Góngora mentions.

34 Theatro de la tierra universal de Abraham

(Antwerp, 1588), 3.

35 This is precisely what we find in annotations provided by García de Salcedo Coronel, whose edition of the Soledades (Madrid, 1636) is known, among other things, for the wealth of cosmographic, geographic, and historical information that it furnishes in reference to the diatribe against navigation. Salcedo Coronel supplies background information about da Gama’s voyage, as he does about other voyages mentioned in the diatribe, and then states that da Gama “arrived at the Cape of Good Hope” (105v).

36 Paul Carter, The Road to Botany Bay: An Exploration of Landscape and History (New York: Knopf, 1988), xvi.

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Instead of a periphrasis alluding to da Gama’s voyage, we have a fasci- nating metonym in which tenor and vehicle matter equally, in which cause and effect, event and place, assume a ghostly codependent pres- ence. The verses, furthermore, cast judgment on this kind of imperial, geographic productivity. The promontory becomes not just the “Cabo” or “Cape” of Good Hope but the “cabo,” the end, of good hope. For it is Greed, not da Gama, who captains this ship, and the good hope of Greed can be nothing but the despair of goodness. Other place-names are subjected to similar procedures of lyric unmaking, or of partial invocation. “Arabia,” for example, appears later in the narrative of the da Gama expedition, but it does not necessarily refer to Arabia itself:

La aromática selva penetraste, que al pájaro de Arabia . pira le erige, y le construye nido.

[To penetrate the aromatic lawn, That builds both pyre and nest For the Arabian bird.] (461 – 65)

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“Arabia” appears as a part of a circumlocution used to name the phoenix. Although the phoenix and its story come to us from Egyptian mythol- ogy, the bird was said to wander around Arabia during its five-hundred- year life span, and so it becomes here “the bird of Arabia” (462). It was said to build its nest, in which it was both consumed by flame and reborn (“a pyre erects, a nest constructs” [465]), from the plants and trees of Arabia and East Africa that yielded frankincense and balsam. This, then, is the “aromatic lawn” penetrated by da Gama. As Góngora would have known from Camões, if not from other sources, the region reached by da Gama was near Mogadishu, in present-day Somalia, not in Arabia itself. Thus, while the toponym promises to anchor the read- ing in a safe toponymic port of call, it actually unsettles the sense of place and its boundaries. Lost in the sea of baroque circumlocutions, readers who believe that they have arrived somewhere discover that they are elsewhere. Alternatively, they are left to wonder whether Góngora considers Somalia part of Arabia and are thereby reminded of the histo- ricity of place-names and the artificiality of boundaries. In either case,

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Góngora transforms the place-name from a referential anchor into a toponymic phantasm. “Arabia” is there, but only elusively, and we are reminded of our own role in conjuring its boundaries. Near the end of the diatribe, a series of place-names leads us to discover other ways that the text engages cartography, verse and icono- graphic. However long modern readers may dwell on the brief appear- ance of the Americas in the diatribe, it is really the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, that the text invests with the greatest charge of moral danger and personal pathos. These islands are the source of the one commod- ity that makes it back to the Mediterranean point of origin of both the art of navigation and the diatribe itself, only to contaminate that point of origin with its corrupting influence. The passage refers to the spices that pass from the Spice Islands through Egypt to the Mediterranean world:

El bosque dividido en islas pocas, fragrante productor de aquel aroma que, traducido mal por el Egito, tarde lo encomendó el Nilo a sus bocas, y ellas más tarde a la gulosa Grecia, clavo no, espuela sí del apetito, que cuanto en conocello tardó Roma fue templado Catón, casta Lucrecia.

[That forest, spreading over many an isle, Fragrant producer of the perfume brought Across the desert with laborious speed, Till from the mouths of the Egyptian Nile Luxurious Greece received the sharp-toothed freight — not cloves, but spikes that spur the glutton’s greed, For Rome still boasted, when it knew them not, Lucretia chaste and Cato temperate.] (491– 98)

The toponymy is personified with moral effect. Places become histori- cal agents, devouring mouths, but there is more going on here than the personification of nations as decadent gourmands. The sequence Egypt-Greece-Rome, coupled with the verb traducido (translated), recalls the translatio imperii to which Spain thought itself heir. Góngora reminds us that not just imperium but the corrupting wealth of empire is translated westward from one people to the next. In this way the top-

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onyms serve less to name places or trace a physical route than to follow the course of historical and moral decline and map its implicit endpoint as none other than Spain. The final verses of the diatribe make clear that the cost of empire is not only moral corruption but death and loss. The mountaineer returns to the seas, revealing that they are where his son has met his death:

quédese, amigo, en tan inciertos mares, donde con mi hacienda del alma se quedó la mejor prenda, cuya memoria es bueitre de pesares.

[Leave them, my friend, where all my fortunes rest Beneath that treacherous sea, With a still dearer pledge, whose memory Feeds like a vulture on a father’s breast.] (499– 502)

I do not want to dwell on either these place-names or this final reflec- tion on the costs of empire, however, but to consider the verses that immediately precede them, the ones about the Spice Islands. Once again, toponyms appear, and once again they disorient rather than ground the reader geographically even as the passage in which they appear orients him or her morally or politically. More important, how- ever, the passage confronts head-on the other component of Renais- sance cartography: its oculocentrism. Góngora’s assurance that he will “not describe” the islands should introduce a description, but instead we receive a scene from mythology, Actaeon’s intrusion on Diana and her nymphs. For García de Salcedo Coronel, one of Góngora’s early commentators, this mythological allusion is the most difficult one of the entire poem, although he does not explain why (114). All he can do is offer the description that Góngora elides, providing in his anno- tations a list of islands found in the Malayan archipelago, along with some observations, drawn from an updated edition of Ptolemy’s Geog- raphy (114 – 14v), on the size and location of the largest or most impor- tant of them. Salcedo Coronel’s annotations suggest his belief that the mythological allusion must be decoded as a recondite description of the Malayan archipelago itself. He is bewildered, then, because this is not how it should be decoded. In its allusion to Diana and Actaeon,

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Góngora’s text does not describe what these islands would look like but what looking at them might mean. We have already glimpsed what one of these meanings might be:

the last of the virgin territories on Greed’s itinerary of rapine becomes

a femme fatale, suggesting that his voyages of discovery and conquest

will lead only to his destruction. But Góngora’s treatment of the myth is unconventional. Like Titian’s 1559 painting Diana Surprised by Actaeon,

a picture executed for the king of Spain and perhaps known to Gón-

gora, the Soledades depicts not the moment preferred by iconographers and mythographers, that of Actaeon’s metamorphosis, but the moment of his intrusion on Diana and her nymphs. 37 According to Leonard Barkan, when Titian chooses this scene over that of metamorphosis itself, the exemplary thrust of the myth is blunted. The use of curtains and architectural elements, moreover, frames the scene in ways that draw the reader into Actaeon’s act of transgressive looking. The story of Diana and Actaeon becomes less about “puritanical severity, unbridled jealousy, or merciless power,” as Brooks Otis puts it, and more about

“the visual, the voyeuristic, and the visionary,” as Barkan characterizes

it (201). 38

Likewise, Góngora’s allusion to this moment in the myth suggests that its purpose is not to announce Greed’s imminent punishment and destruction but to reflect on the seductions and the dangers of vision, knowledge, and desire. Like Titian’s painting, Góngora’s text impli- cates the audience in Actaeon’s voyeurism. The passage never mentions Diana and reserves Actaeon’s name for the end. After suggesting that

a description will be proffered, the text flirts with the reader, offering

only bits and pieces of the virgin bodies of Diana’s nymphs, the frag- ments of beautiful women fetishized through comparisons with desir- able commodities (precious marble) that bring out the whiteness of

37 Titian’s image is reproduced in Leonard Barkan, The Gods Made Flesh: Meta- morphosis and the Pursuit of Paganism (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1986), 200; Filippo Pedrocco, Titian, trans. Corrado Federici (New York: Rizzoli, 2001), 205; and elsewhere. It is also available online through various sources, including ARTstor, where it is listed as Diana and Actaeon (www.artstor.org/info). 38 Brooks Otis, Ovid as an Epic Poet, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), 165.

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their skin. Vickers tells us that the description of a woman through the enumeration of fetishized fragments of her body, whether in Petrarch or in Ovid, does less to make the woman present to the reader than to mark her absence (105). The whole is lost, yet that is what the text strug- gles to capture and make present. Here that whole is doubly lost. The “stationary fleet” of the Indies becomes the dazzling variety of islands, which in turn become the scattered fragments of desirable women. The verses may tell us that their numbers “wake not lust,” but they then work to incite desire, only to identify the desiring subject (Greed, and the reader as well) as Actaeon after his fate is already sealed. We do not see the Spice Islands. They are not made present to us by a map, verbal or otherwise. Yet it is our seeing, or our desire to see them, to know them, to possess them, that makes its way onto Góngora’s page. Although Actaeon’s metamorphosis receives no explicit mention, thus denying the passage clear possession of the moral high ground, it looms omi- nously beyond the edges of the picture, allowing little room for doubt as to the sinister cast thrown over our gaze. Actaeon, who stumbles upon Diana when the sun is at its zenith, takes the place of Apollo. Greed’s gaze (our gaze) is not that of the god but that of the hunter, not com- manding but lascivious, not divine but transgressive. While it seeks the commanding heights of the sun god, it remains firmly planted among mortals.

Conclusion

Did Góngora kill the mappamundi episode with his suspicious emulation of its formal and ideological premises? Perhaps, but it is difficult to dis- entangle Góngora’s effect on the genre from the many other forces that altered it during the seventeenth century. There is some echo of Góngo- ra’s suspicion, however, in a very different composition, the Primero sueño of Góngora’s most important follower, the Mexican nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. In this lengthy poem, so heavily marked by the influence of Góngora’s mature style, the speaking subject enjoys a dream vision in which she leaves her body, rises to a great height, and attempts to take in a commanding view of the natural world:

En cuya casi elevación inmensa, gozosa mas suspensa,

Padrón

Padrón Góngora’s Soledad primera and Empire suspensa pero ufana, y atónita aunque ufana, la suprema de

Góngora’s Soledad primera and Empire

suspensa pero ufana,

y atónita aunque ufana, la suprema

de lo sublunar Reina soberana, la vista perspicaz, libre de anteojos, de sus intelectuales bellos ojos

. . libre tendió por todo lo crïado:

cuyo inmenso agregado, cúmulo incomprehensible,

aunque a la vista quiso manifiesto dar señas de posible,

a la comprensión no, que — entorpecida

con la sobra de objetos, y excedida de la grandeza de ellos su potencia —

retrocedió cobarde.

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[At this near immeasurable pinnacle, joyful, but marveling, marveling, yet well content, still, even though content, astonished, the

supreme and sovereign Queen of all the earth,

. cast her gaze across all creation;

this vast aggregate, this enigmatic whole, although to sight seeming to signal possibility, denied such clarity to comprehension, which (bewildered by such rich profusion, its powers vanquished by such majesty) with cowardice, withdrew.] 39

The following lines chart the soul’s failure to occupy this commanding position, its need to abandon

la vista que intentó descomedida en vano hacer alarde contra objeto que excede en excelencia las líneas visuales — contra el Sol, digo.

39 Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Poems, Protest, and a Dream: Selected Writings, trans. Margaret Sayers Peden (New York: Penguin, 1997), 435 – 53.

392

[its immoderate attempt to vaunt its strength against the supreme creator of irradiating beams, — against, that is, the Sun.] (456 – 60)

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beams, — against, that is, the Sun.] (456 – 60) MLQ September 2007 The soul is

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The soul is forced to abandon “la Apolínea ciencia” (Apollonian sci- ence) (537) and find new paths to knowledge. There are no references to cartography, no toponymy, phantasmagoric or otherwise, just the

skeptical treatment of the possibility of totalizing knowledge figured as

a commanding vision. Other intertexts, like the Somnium Scipionis and

various myths, stand out as more likely sources, but there is no denying

that the Primero sueño bears a family resemblance to the diatribe against navigation as I have read it here. But what about the tension and ambivalence I promised above? Even

if the diatribe subverts Renaissance cartography, poetic and visual, in

the manner I have described, it asserts itself as an enthralling poetic

accomplishment. It is not that Góngora has written the first truly poetic cartography, as Jammes suggests, but that he has sacrificed cartography on the altar of poetry. Ercilla’s mappamundi episode is lost on contem- porary readers. Some nineteenth-century editions of the poem excise

it altogether. However, Góngora’s diatribe, his countercartography of

the world, persists and draws attention to this day. One reason it does so is precisely that it abandons the referential and ocular fantasies of its cartographic intertexts and asserts itself as an exemplum of rich poetic language. Jammes is right, then, that the diatribe represents the poetic analogue of an ornate Renaissance map. Góngora captures not any of the formal and ideological structures that make that map a map, how- ever, but instead the sense of wonder inherent in its ornament, in the map as visual spectacle. He subverts the power of the map, but in doing so he asserts its beauty. Here, in the end, is the ambivalence of this episode for the con- junction of vision, knowledge, and power in Renaissance cartogra- phy. Góngora’s verse cartography holds us in thrall. But the diatribe against navigation also calls attention to its own mapping practices in ways that signal the contingency and inadequacy of maps, verbal and

iconographic, not to mention the desires and ideologies that subtend

Padrón

Padrón Góngora’s Soledad primera and Empire 393 them. The diatribe subverts the map, but only to

Góngora’s Soledad primera and Empire

393

them. The diatribe subverts the map, but only to remind us of the fas- cination that maps hold. It abandons the toponym, only to replace it with a network of allusions and imagery that tell us more, that let us see more, than any list of half-empty place-names could ever hope to impart. The diatribe converts places into elusive phantasms, only to make them objects of desire that we seek among Góngora’s verses as avidly as Greed seeks places to conquer. Finally, it deliberately impli- cates us in a mythology of vision, knowledge, and desire, only to bring our looking down to earth, color it with shades of transgression, and cast the shadow of impending doom on it. Apollo’s wondrous eye is not divine at all, but human.

Ricardo Padrón is associate professor of Spanish at the University of Virginia. His article in this issue builds on the argument advanced in The Spacious Word:

Cartography, Literature, and Empire in Early Modern Spain (2004). He is working on Spanish interest in the Pacific and Asia during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.